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Three Local Organizing Strategies to Implement Place-Based School Integration Initiatives in a Mixed-Income Community

Department of Urban and Regional Planning, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL 32306-2280, USA
Societies 2020, 10(1), 13;
Received: 11 December 2019 / Revised: 20 January 2020 / Accepted: 21 January 2020 / Published: 27 January 2020


This paper explores two policy efforts to revitalize public housing communities: education reform and HOPE VI. Chicago underwent transformation of housing and schools from 2000 to 2014. I examine school integration planning efforts of three local actors in a Chicago neighborhood and ask how do actors make integration strategies work? This research investigates how efforts to remedy existing segregation in a Chicago neighborhood combined housing and school integration efforts through a single case study approach comprised of 20 in-depth interviews. Findings show that two approaches encouraged fairness in the residential mix, but did not promote an integrated educational experience. The third approach shows how a purposeful integration strategy works as part of a place-based effort. This study provides a lens to understand ongoing local community organizing efforts supporting education reform in a Chicago neighborhood and offers lessons learned by local actors about effective approaches to address the barriers to building mixed income communities.

1. Introduction

Simultaneous policy efforts to redevelop public housing and public schools through integrationist efforts have been occurring in cities across the US. Many scholars consider that these efforts reproduce the inequality that the programs aim to ameliorate [1,2,3,4]. Beginning in 1992, the HOPE VI Program facilitated demolishing over 220,000 units of distressed public housing units in the U.S. and replacing them with mixed-income housing that integrates public housing with tax credit and market rate units [5]. HOPE VI aims to improve the physical conditions of public housing, reduce concentrations of poverty, and promote the upward mobility of low-income families.
The U.S. Department of Education has also pursued a policy of diversifying inner-city public education introducing charter schools to expand choice and competition among underperforming public schools. The mix of non-profit and for-profit providers embraces many of the same ideas animating the neo-liberal hopes for HOPEVI mixed income housing projects. Generating place-based improvements in the quality of schools and housing might attract young middle-income households to live in previously unattractive neighborhoods and send their children to local schools. The Obama administration allocated $4.35 B of stimulus funds for school system reform dedicated to the ‘Race to the Top’.
Chicago responded to both the housing and schooling initiatives between 2000 and 2014. The Chicago Housing Authority implemented the Plan for Transformation (PFT), demolishing 15,000 units of public housing replacing a portion in mostly better neighborhoods. The Chicago Public School District consolidated or closed over 200 schools implementing the Renaissance 2010 (Ren 10) school choice policy. These were replaced partly by not for profit charter schools. The rollout of these two initiatives—one for housing and the other for schools—was not geographically coordinated.
Both initiatives, the PFT and Ren 2010, presumed that living and learning together with more prosperous and better educated people would improve residential satisfaction and educational performance for low income residents and students [4,6,7]. Assuring the provision of high-quality schools was crucial for attracting middle- and upper-income family households to live in mixed income communities. However, the crucial relationships linking residential quality, security and prosperity with educational quality, access and achievement rarely link housing plans and school plans [3,8].
There is significant research at the intersection of housing and education reform focused on the privatization of public education; however, research studying efforts to link mixed-income developments with urban education reform is sparse. What happens as developers and educators anticipate each other’s plans for household mixing? How do they learn to work together to make integration strategies work? The case study I report on sheds light on these questions in the context of Chicago, exploring how efforts to plan and pursue the purposeful integration of housing and school quality improved over time; even as the final outcome proved modest in light of ambitious policy expectations. This case in particular highlights barriers to implementing mixed-income housing plans and offers lessons learned for future practitioners working to promote equity and inclusion in affordable housing efforts.
In the next section, I provide background on the premise of residential and school integration policies and implementation more generally, followed by a review of literature on the role of community organizing and asset-based approaches to development. Then I present an overview of the PFT and Ren 10 and the data and methodology used for this study. And lastly, I lay out the context of residential integration at Roosevelt Square and then turn to the community organizing approaches carried out by local actors and conclude with the implications and lessons learned for mixed-income housing plans.

2. Premise of Residential Mixing and School Integration

The impetus for mixed-income housing arises from literature that focuses on the impact of concentrated poverty neighborhoods on the life outcomes of residents [9]. The focus of mixed-income housing is derived from economic and social problems stemming from racial and income segregation, justifying the transformation of public housing into mixed-income neighborhoods. Moreover, the overarching purpose of mixed-income housing policies is to counteract the negative effects of the social isolation with communities of concentrated urban poverty found in public housing by introducing middle-, and upper-class families into developments with public housing residents. The policy argument for mixed-income housing suggests that the residential spatial proximity of low-, moderate-, and high-income households will improve the quality of life among poor households in four ways: (1) Wealthier households may interact with low-income neighbors, sharing access to social networks; (2) As high-income households interact with lower income neighbors, this interaction will foster greater civic accountability; (3) Wealthier households might serve as role models for low-income neighbors; and (4) High income households will attract private investments that produce neighborhood improvements [10].
Promoting positive social interactions among residents of varied backgrounds is a core claim of mixed-income housing that has had mixed results. The various income groups in mixed-income communities do not interact much [7,11,12,13,14,15,16,17,18]. Proximity is necessary but not sufficient to create positive interactions; meaningful, positive social interaction in mixed-income housing occurs in groups of residents with perceived social similarity [19,20] as contact theory suggests [7,21]. Studies on mixed-income housing redevelopments in Chicago, IL, indicate varied results at best with negative outcomes [7] and successful but limited outcomes [22] even in the same redevelopments. Furthermore, mixed-income housing approaches have received significant criticism because they often accompany the elimination of communities with high poverty rates and displace existing public housing residents [23,24,25].
A similar framework also supports the rationale for mixed-income schools. The purpose of deconcentration in this case is that the addition of middle-class students will influence the behavior of lower income students. Middle-class students are assumed to have greater motivation, superior language skills, more positive attitudes about school, and better behavior than their low-income peers [26]. Likewise, the parents of middle-class students also have more power to obtain school resources and advocate for children. Raffel et al. [27] also suggests that lower income students will benefit from having middle-income students in the classroom. Moreover, the correlation between social class and educational experiences and outcomes are generally supported [28,29]. However, Lipman notes there is mixed evidence when low-income students are moved to low-poverty schools or suburban schools. For instance, studies note a strong correlation between family socioeconomic status in relation to school quality [30], relationships between the school personnel and parents [31], and classroom environment [32]. There is also research that acknowledges the correlations between poverty and low academic performance, as well as race/ethnicity and educational outcomes [33,34]. Many of these correlations, however, are moderated by other factors such as school location, race, and school level [29].
While this appears to be a one-way flow of influence, other scholars argue that there is also an advantage for middle-class students by way of improved intangible cultural awareness through integration. The benefits of mixed-income schools on middle-class peers do not acknowledge the intellectual and cultural strengths of low-income students of color or support the importance of culture, language, race, and ethnicity in schooling [2]. Overall, Lipman argues that there may be some social class composition effects on educational outcomes, but scholars still do not know why. Although Kahlenberg [26] and others argue that benefits for low-income students are attributed to middle-class students and parents, there is also the possibility these benefits are attributed to superior instructional and material resources, better prepared teachers, and higher academic expectations in schools [2]. Additionally, the assumption that lower income students will benefit from proximity to middle-class students conflates correlation and causality. Educational experiences are multifaceted and can be attributed to a variety of factors that cannot account for increased achievement of lower-class students in mixed income schools.

Role of Community Organizing and Asset-Based Community Development Approaches

Federal housing and education policies, coupled with local level policies such as the PFT and Ren 10, have left gaps in neighborhood development. In planning literature, these gaps have historically been reconciled by community-driven, place-based efforts [35]. Shifting federal government orientations towards privatization and deregulation have left place-based community organizations to work within their communities to address systemic neighborhood problems. Community-based organizations include those belonging to the Community and Economic Development (CED) movement where locally based, quasi-capitalist organizations focus on stimulating neighborhood revitalization efforts in neglected communities where the private market has failed. Communities turn to these organizations to address the social and structural effects of “market weakness” caused by disinvestment [36].
The education organizing movement emerged as a distinct subset of community organizing between the 1980 and 1990s to ameliorate the issue of inadequate schools found in inner city neighborhoods. There are currently more than 200 local organizations that focus specifically on education improvement around several areas, which include school safety, overcrowding, deteriorating and outdated facilities, poor student performance, and low teacher expectations and quality [37,38]. Glickman and Scally [37] further define a theory of change for education organizing and offer several examples illustrating where education organizers have succeeded. Additional evidence on nationally recognized practices include several models such as the Harlem Children’s Zone, community and full-service schools, school-oriented community development, and preschool through college programing efforts among others [39].
Much of the literature on education research focuses on advocacy groups in the context of their macro-level influences or how these organizations shape national level policy decisions [40]. However, there is a growing body of literature on community organizing for education reform [41,42,43]. More specifically, researchers have analyzed the impact of community groups on district-wide policies [41,44,45,46,47], as well as citizen campaigns that work to mobilize and empower communities [48,49].
There has been a paucity of attention by scholars on how community groups work on the ground to implement education reform in the context of HOPE VI plans. An area of research useful in understanding how community groups are filling the gap is addressing how local actors participate in implementation processes. Newman, Deschenes, and Hopkins [50] note that there has been a significant turn in education research over the past 30 years from addressing policy implementation to now focusing on how actors outside of the formal education process influence implementation of education policy. Furthermore, there have been studies focused on “external” and “intermediary” organizations which examine a range of “nonsystem” actors, from non-profits and regional collaboratives to community groups and their role in facilitating policy reform [51,52]. Even though community organizations are involved in filling the gap, they must also contend with how and whether they reinforce existing patterns of inequality.
Based on community development literature, there are two relevant strategies that reflect how local organizing efforts can be carried out by community groups: (1) A needs-based or (2) capacity-focused approach to community development. A needs-based approach is considered top-down, which is often driven by external institutional actors outside of the community and rely on assessments that focus on a community’s deficiencies and problems. In this case, community development starts from problem solving or identifying the deficits as a basis for how to fix community issues. A needs-based approach to community development utilizes external agencies and organizations to define neighborhood needs and solutions to meet those needs [53]. Local community perspectives are not valued in this problem-solving process and instead external actors dictate the most effective strategies to meet the needs of communities, which fail to consider or build upon the unique strengths and assets of a community.
A capacity-focused approach is considered bottom up, and takes into consideration the local assets in the community and capitalizes on internal skills within the existing neighborhood. Asset-based community development [54], is a more nuanced approach to community development, which maps all available community assets that utilize community stakeholders and neighborhood–based institutions to develop future projects and plans. In this case, community planning efforts recognize local institutions as the driver to identify assets, which are then connected to external actors that assist in leveraging their power and effectiveness to achieve a common goal.

3. The Context: Chicago’s Plan for Transformation and Renaissance 2010

The City of Chicago and the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) employed an aggressive strategy known as the Chicago Plan for Transformation (PFT). HUD approved the PFT in early 2000 and committed $1.5 billion over a period of 10 years. The PFT goal was to decrease the number of public housing units and deconcentrate poverty while also revitalizing neighborhoods and integrating these new communities into the larger social, economic, and physical fabric of Chicago. Although the PFT envisioned completing redevelopments over a ten-year period, in 2006, the CHA reached an agreement with HUD to extend the timeframe an additional five years, to 2015. The CHA is working towards completion of 25,000 units and has 96% of the units delivered, with 2823 public housing units still needing to be delivered [55]. Additionally, the CHA serves more than 37,000 families through the Housing Choice Voucher program. According to the latest available report, there remains approximately 14% of families waiting to satisfy their Right to Return, and roughly 8% of previously existing public housing residents have been able to return to new mixed-income communities [56].
In 2004, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) launched Ren 10, which was a plan to close 60–70 schools and open 100 new schools of choice. These schools of choice include charter or contract schools, where students are selected by lottery and are not required to accept neighborhood children. The goal of Ren 10 is to “expand quality education options” to children in “the most underserved areas” [1]. Of these new schools, two-thirds are nonunion charter or contract schools and are funded publicly but run by private organizations. Another one-third of the schools have five-year performance contracts. Schools will now have greater flexibility in curriculum, instruction, and school organization. This flexibility is linked to freedom not only from union contracts but also from the elimination of local school councils (LSCs). Charter and contract schools will be run by outside vendors contracted by CPS, which can include for-profit education management organizations, as well as non-profits.
While Ren 2010 was planned for completion in 2010, CPS has continued to close schools at a rapid pace throughout Chicago in communities of color. Due to financial challenges with a $1 B deficit and declining student enrollment, CPS resorted to closing schools as a way to consolidate resources among fewer schools. In May 2013, the Chicago Board of Education voted to close 47 underutilized elementary schools, the largest number of schools closed in one year by any district in the nation. After this unprecedented number of school closures and community resistance, CPS placed a moratorium on school closures. To date, CPS has closed, consolidated, or turned around 202 schools. Overall, school closures have affected nearly 12,000 students, of which 88% affected were African American residing on the city’s south and west sides [57]. Moreover, almost 75% of Chicago school children still attend low-performing schools [58].

4. Data and Methodology

This research is part of a larger project where three developments were examined to unravel how implementation of social and physical mixing works broadly across mixed-income developments in Chicago, each representing a different degree of program outcome success. Cases were selected based on their stated project outcomes, or initial aims as it relates to the more specific parameters of HOPE VI program theory. I employed a purposeful case selection process [59,60], and identify cases based on the housing mix (income) and land use mix (design) in their final projects. To see more detail on how a typology of HOPE VI projects was developed, please refer to the author [61]. Based on this typology, I organize the Chicago HOPE VI cases by type, while selecting one case from each category: Jackson Square (low fit), Westhaven Park (moderate fit) and Roosevelt Square (high fit). This typology is a useful organizational tool for case selection as it allows for the ability to assess whether the social and physical mixing initial aims, ultimately hold up in project build outs. For this paper in particular, I choose to focus on the extreme case of Roosevelt Square, where redevelopment efforts were the most impacted by Ren 2010 with four school closures, compared to Westhaven Park and Jackson Square, which had one to two schools close during the same time frame.
I use a case study approach to understand the different local organizing efforts used by three local actors to implement school integration in the Roosevelt Square mixed-income community: (1) Business and Professional People for the Public Interest (BPI), (2) Connecting for Communities (C4C), and (3) the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), each having been involved in various education reform efforts in partnership with local school administrations. I explore the Roosevelt Square mixed-income community, which is a representative development that had four of five neighborhood school closures between 2002 and 2012.
The first local organizing effort is the planning process initiated by BPI, a public interest group founded in 1969, which is a public interest law and policy center that works on advocacy issues around housing, education, and community development in the Chicago metropolitan area. More specifically, BPI is the Gautreaux1 receiver for all mixed-income developments in Chicago in charge of overseeing the income mix. In an effort to bridge their larger focus around education, BPI initiated a planning process at Roosevelt Square to also work towards providing more integrated school opportunities for local residents.
The second local organizing effort is the non-profit organization Connecting For Communities (C4C), comprised of stakeholders that have been part of the long-term planning efforts for Roosevelt Square since 2009. The organization aims to connect four communities together—Tri Taylor, Illinois Medical District, Little Italy, and Roosevelt Square. C4C is an “organizing” vehicle that focuses on improving public education in partnership with local Chicago Public School (CPS) officials.
And the third local organizing effort is a university–community partnership between UIC’s College of Education and Smyth Elementary School, formed in 2012 with the aim of improving the conditions for the only neighborhood school left in Roosevelt Square, Smyth Elementary School. The College of Education received a large grant from the Kellogg Foundation to scale up its successful Reading Clinics literacy pilot program and has been working with Smyth School students. Additionally, UICs College of Applied Health Sciences Department of Physical Therapy is also working with Smyth School on health and nutrition initiatives.
The analysis presented in this paper is based primarily on in-depth interviews and a review of documentary data. Original documents help to recreate the implementation process and form the initial basis for understanding the neighborhood, local organizing processes, and participants. Participants were selected for interviews based on document research and snowball sampling methods. While the document and archival research form the initial basis for understanding the implementation of residential and school integration, I also conducted in-depth interviews with seven actors from the working group and 13 actors involved in local organizing efforts. Many of these respondents were identified based on their participation in the working group2, which is the governing authority instituted by the CHA at each mixed-income development. Data related to implementation are comprised of 20 interviews conducted between August 2013 and August 2016, with nonprofit organizations (4), public school officials (3), housing officials (3), developers (3), consultants (3), and community stakeholders (4). These interviews are informant interviews and provide empirical data about the local organizing process. I ask actors a common set of questions based on their institutional roles. I asked respondents a series of questions about:
  • The implementation of education programming across both public and private schools
  • The existing, policies and local practices in place that foster collaboration among partners to promote greater inclusion of existing residents in the school system
  • The challenges faced by local actors to develop and sustain integrated educational opportunities, and lessons learned more generally for the future
  • What has worked well and what efforts have faced significant barriers to coordination across a multitude of actors
  • The major challenges faced by public housing residents in terms of accessing high quality education
  • Improvements in education related to resident outcomes
By interviewing a range of actors, I was able to triangulate different perspectives based on what actors said and infer the meaning of the actions they described taking. Next, interviews are digitally recorded and transcribed. The interview transcripts are then coded in NVivo, a data analysis program to identify emerging themes and general patterns. Descriptive codes detail information about each actor and their institutional role. Interpretive codes are categorized across critical implementation episodes and findings that capture the key concepts of the research.
A significant limitation to this empirical research is that most of the work was conducted between 2013 and 2016 and has not been updated. Future research efforts should examine Roosevelt Square and similar cases to understand whether and in what ways progress has been made by community organizing efforts to further fill the gap in education reform left by mixed-income housing efforts in Chicago. This research offers one perspective at a single point in time within a larger research project and is limited in generalizability, however does offer some important lessons learned for future mixed income redevelopment efforts.

5. Findings: Planning for Residential Integration at Roosevelt Square

Roosevelt Square, formerly the Jane Addams Homes, Brooks Homes, Loomis Courts, Grace Abbott Homes (ABLA), is located on the southwest side of Chicago, just outside of the Loop in the Little Italy neighborhood. The planning process started in 1998 when the CHA was granted $35 M from HUD to revitalize the entire former Jane Addams Homes, Robert Brooks Homes, Loomis Courts and Grace Abbot Homes (ABLA). From the beginning, organized residents used the threat of litigation to pressure the CHA to negotiate with the residents3. Unlike a consent decree that lays out the responsibility of the housing provider to integrate, the threat of a lawsuit increases the risk of development delay as a motivating disincentive. While not as effective as a consent decree, the threat of a lawsuit and the potential to stall the project facilitated a negotiated effort by stakeholders involved in the project, ensuring a balanced unit mix and location, and limited public housing resident displacement.
Similarly, at Roosevelt Square between 2001 and 2002, the LAC was able to leverage the threat of a lawsuit to negotiate benefits on behalf of public housing residents. This led to a contested participatory process that was more robust than at other HOPE VI sites. There were two distinct factions within the working group, one led by the LAC and the other by the University Village Association (UVA), which represented the community leadership. The LAC represented the interests south of Roosevelt Road, where the majority of public housing existed. Both the LAC and community leadership wanted their interests to guide the development process, which oftentimes led to tension, particularly around defining who the Roosevelt Square community would serve. It was also important to both groups that newcomers to the community respect the indigenous population that had coexisted there for decades. The president of UVA described the dynamics of the Little Italy neighborhood:
People in this community were used to seeing people in public housing as part of everyday life, and there have been antagonisms and racism involved both ways, for that matter. But there was coexistence. This area is plenty economically stable, so it’s something that you want to integrate with and build upon, not challenge. You’re not creating an island of wealth or better incomes […] if you go west of here and you go to Rockwell—or you go over by the United Center, what they created there is the best there is. It’s better than anything around it, okay? That’s not true here… there’s something to anchor here.
While defining this community was important to both groups, their perspectives on how this would be achieved were expressed in different ways. On one hand, community leadership was concerned about integrating new residents into an already economically stable community and building upon and integrating with what currently existed. Community leadership was fearful that Whites moving into the area might move away if too many public housing units were built. This viewpoint coincides with the assumption that there may be too many Blacks entering the community. Taking this into consideration, the community leadership at multiple working group meetings stressed that the development of for sale housing should be viewed as equally important as building replacement rental housing.
The perceived short-term immediate focus on public housing and the CHA’s desire to keep the support of the LAC was viewed as a limitation to the long-term success of Roosevelt Square by community leadership. On the other hand, public housing residents were focused on the new CHA population. The LAC expressed their interests, by focusing on how to determine tenant selection criteria, and right to return qualifications. The LAC was squarely involved in the development of the tenant selection plan for all public housing and income-restricted affordable housing units, with specific tenant eligibility guidelines. Because of the alliance of the CHA with the LAC, priority was given to public housing resident preferences to which there was significant resistance from the community leadership, who continued to promote their interests. Ultimately, both perspectives were incorporated into early plans, but this was a significant win for public housing residents to ensure that project plans incorporated an equitable right of return.
At Roosevelt Square, attaining the promised unit mix was upheld because of the prior CRA lawsuit. Because of this lawsuit, there was still some lingering fear among public housing residents that the for-sale components of the development would be completed by the development team on the north side of Roosevelt Road, and the public housing units would be relegated to the south side of Roosevelt Road, thereby not creating a true mixed-income community. Because of the prior CRA lawsuit, as well as overall resident concerns about unit phasing and distribution, the development team was very responsive in making sure an equitable number of units were dispersed across the north and south sides of Roosevelt Road. Construction started in 2004 and units were constructed simultaneously on both sides of Roosevelt Road. The construction process was challenging because the development team, had to accommodate the unit mix, and simultaneously time the construction of rental and for-sale units. The developer decided to build the rental phase first and backfilled with for sale units to achieve the required unit distribution. The process of developing the actual unit mix and building on both sides of Roosevelt Road simultaneously proved to be a logistical challenge, but the development team wanted to alleviate any concerns regarding inequitable distribution of rental and for-sale unit construction. Construction started in 2004 and Roosevelt Square is 24% complete with 591 of 2443 units built (see Table 1).
In addition to planning for mixed-income housing, a key component of HOPE VI Plans was community building with the Community and Social Service (CSS) Plans. A community planning process aimed at complementing many of the physical design strategies ran alongside the larger planning process. Over the course of several months, community meetings, resident surveys, and three community forums were held with the aim of using the CSS Plan to strengthen connections between neighborhood and citywide resources to improve residents’ quality of life. These meetings identified three major areas of focus: education, employment and job training, and health. The initial recommendations included establishing a Community Academy and Computer Learning Center; an Employment Council to assist residents in retaining job opportunities in the Illinois Medical District; an ABLA taskforce on education to address educational deficiencies; a revisiting of the UIC taskforce on health care to link residents with quality health care; and a planning process for a Jane Addams public housing museum [62].
In addition to the CSS efforts, the approved HOPE VI Revitalization Plan also called for a specific assessment of schools in the community. An educational task force was proposed to develop and coordinate recommendations to improve the existing neighborhood schools around Roosevelt Square, as well as work with CPS to implement recommendations. The task force had four primary purposes: evaluating the current school options, identifying deficiencies, exploring the creation of new educational school models, and improving technological capacity at schools.
Between 1998 and 2004, the neighborhood was impacted by school closures. When the demolition of the ABLA high-rises began and the initial planning stages started, four of the five neighborhood schools were closed4. However, there were three high performing elementary magnet schools nearby, such as Andrew Jackson Language Academy, Galileo Scholastic Academy, and Skinner Elementary.
Although community building was part of the HOPE VI Revitalization Plan and its planning process, it was difficult for the development team to simultaneously build housing and provide broader neighborhood amenities. According to the developer:
In theory this was a great idea; however, it was difficult for us to get traction […] this is happening simultaneously with us trying to manage design, architecture, and construction. And so it ended up becoming a low priority because we were also preparing LIHTC applications and trying to get the financing lined up. And it was probably something that I could say in hindsight should have been at the top of our to-do list […] but I think that you don’t know until you know.
Without a full staff to assume responsibilities, it was difficult to deal with issues related to broader programming and community needs. The community building goals of creating a non-profit organization using a portion of the $7.5 M in CSS funding for education, employment, and health, did not happen. More specifically, a community building initiative that was decided in the early planning stages was for the developer to create a non-profit organization for Roosevelt Square. The developer agreed that 10% of the developer fees were going to be used for seed funding for a non-profit organization. This failed to happen and the developer instead used the funding to build housing. Also, the additional recommendations for a community academy and computer learning center, an employment council, a taskforce on healthcare, and employment opportunities with Growing Homes did not materialize. Overall, the community building initiatives were a low priority for the development team. Instead of maintaining a commitment to both building housing and supportive social infrastructure, commitment, especially to the latter, waned over time.
Although redevelopment at Roosevelt Square is still ongoing, the demographic composition of the census tracts where Roosevelt Square is located have also changed significantly (see Table 2). This data are consistent with studies from scholars who suggest that communities in Chicago where mixed-income developments are located have changed significantly and has displaced existing public housing residents [1,3].

5.1. Planning for Education Integration at Roosevelt Square

Three non-profit/public partnerships were formed to fill in the gap Ren 10 left: BPI, C4C, and UIC/Smyth. Each organization approached the challenge of integration in different ways. Strategies used by BPI and C4C utilized a needs-based approach to community development, which encouraged fairness in the residential mix, but did not understand the importance of actively promoting an integrated educational experience. The partnership between UIC and Smyth utilized an asset-based approach, which highlights how a purposeful integration strategy works as part of a place-based community development effort linking school quality with housing choice.

5.1.1. Cross Cutting Integration Approach (Needs Based): 2008–2009

Redevelopment efforts at Roosevelt Square were ongoing, but by 2008, neither the City of Chicago, CHA, or CPS were actively engaged in dealing with the limited capacity of Smyth as the only neighborhood school. In this case, because of the lack of consistent participation of city departments in the working group, coordination of redevelopment activities is more difficult to achieve. An interviewee discussed these challenges and lack of commitment by local actors to making high quality schools a priority for Roosevelt Square:
A school can be the center of community. It can be the place where parents of different backgrounds get to be friends because their kids are in the same class. It can be a place where you have adult education after school. If you have a community school, something that’s open at night. It could be a place where you have community meetings […] And it just doesn’t seem to be part of the plans from anybody’s direct—not from CPS, the developer, CHA or anybody because the bureaucracies don’t work together […] It’s a really big missed opportunity.
Because of the prior HOPE VI Revitalization Plans around education and the importance of having a high performing school, not only to attract middle-class families, but also to serve as the heart of the Roosevelt Square community, the lack of commitment is perceived as a missed opportunity. With the limited work towards bridging the gap in education access, as part of the working group, BPI decided to bring together its efforts around both public housing and education to examine and assess the current educational needs for Roosevelt Square. BPI initially started to work with Smyth Elementary School administration, as well as the community to work towards strengthening Smyth. While CPS administration was not involved in the initial planning efforts, it later started a separate and larger engagement process that BPI became the broker between the community and Smyth administration.
The two planning efforts coalesced into a community engagement process, the Smyth Educational Advancement Team (SEAT), a planning committee led by the current CPS Chief Area Officer (CAO) for Area 9 that ran in partnership with BPI’s ongoing efforts [63]. The goal was to capitalize on the potential of Smyth to be a high performing neighborhood school. These efforts included various community engagement activities over a period of three months with public meetings and focus groups that included Related, social service providers, nonprofit organizations, city agencies, aldermen, the LAC, CHA, and CPS administration.
This planning process, however, was filled with ongoing tension and mistrust from the prior lawsuit filed by the existing community, which perceived the process as a mechanism to close yet another CPS neighborhood school. Although BPI intended to broker the relationships between CPS and local efforts on the ground with Smyth administration and community stakeholders, the initiative failed in that capacity.
BPI used a needs-based approach in the engagement process in tackling the issues faced by Smyth. At the first four meetings, BPI presented data on Smyth in terms of student achievement, test scores, and performance metrics, which were low at the time, but did not acknowledge that Smyth was a receiving school for many schools that were closed. A BPI member explained this dynamic as follows:
The community players were convinced that this meant their school was closing…And so you can say all you want that that isn’t going to happen, but the fact is, many schools have closed […] Now, alongside of this, we have the White—the White plus Indian—I mean a very diverse group of people and they weren’t going to send their kids to Smyth. And it was pretty blatantly racist…On the other hand, you have to kind of understand why they wouldn’t send their kids there, too.
This was perceived as a backdoor effort by Smyth administration and community stakeholders that supported closing the school for poor performance rather than an effort to strengthen the ongoing programs in place. While BPI acknowledged in interviews this was not their intent, there were external organizations supporting the efforts. They also looked at this as an opportunity to further the agenda of middle-class families in the neighborhood that were uncomfortable with the idea of sending their children to Smyth. As a community building effort, this was challenging because of the various communities involved and inherent politics of race and class, which played out throughout the engagement process. Nevertheless, the real and perceived perceptions of Smyth gave way to a process that was intended to be community driven by an external nonprofit actor and became a way to reinforce normative perspectives, rather than work to strengthen an underperforming program.
In addition to community meetings, the engagement process also included visiting schools with similar populations in terms of socioeconomics and race, such as South Loop Elementary School, North Kenwood-Oakland and University of Chicago Elementary Charter School to determine a proposed model for Smyth. Again, while this effort was meant to find an appropriate model for Smyth, it instead reinforced the idea that Smyth as a neighborhood school was deficient and stoked community fears of its possible closure. Additionally, as the engagement process continued, community stakeholders and administrators shared in interviews that they found themselves effectively locked out of the process without the ability to have any decision-making authority. The idea that decisions had already been made, without community stakeholder input, ultimately derailed the engagement process. Given the contention that arose during the planning process, the parties involved were unable to arrive at a consensus and the formal, larger SEAT process came to an end with no resolution. Integration efforts in this case were not aligned with the needs of the existing community, nor based on local knowledge to facilitate collaboration between CPS, BPI and Smyth. Although well intentioned, this strategy failed to foster the necessary commitment to existing residents to support ongoing residential integration.

5.1.2. Unilateral Integration Approach (Hybrid-based): 2009–2012

A year after the failed SEAT process ended, C4C started exploring options to develop a new school for the Roosevelt Square neighborhood. The basis for developing a new school was twofold; on the one hand, C4C wanted to explore options for a new school to stem the tide of middle-class families from leaving Roosevelt Square and, on the other hand, aimed to work alongside Smyth to build a strong foundation for integrated schools for Roosevelt Square. Smyth Elementary School was not considered a viable option for middle-class families because of its Level 3 school rating, which is the lowest ranked on the five-tiered rating system. Additionally, the perceptions held by new residents in the neighborhood also reinforced the assertion that Smyth was not a preferred option for middle-class families. Smyth administration explained this dynamic,
So, in spite of the closings of schools, they still had a school to go to that was in their community…A lot of the rhetoric at that time was that we don’t have a viable option. The reality of all that rhetoric was we don’t wanna cross Roosevelt Row and go to school with Black kids.
Rather than engage with Smyth to learn about the programming efforts, many middle-class families moving into Roosevelt Square considered leaving because of the limited neighborhood school options [64]. The perspective held by C4C was that there was a need to find a stop gap solution to stem the tide of middle-class families leaving Roosevelt because of the limited neighborhood school options [64]. An interviewee offered an example of the challenges middle-class families were having integrating into the Roosevelt Square:
There is a gentleman who bought a market rate unit and got sick of what he was seeing happening and on the advice of his attorney let it go into foreclosure. And it’s not because he lost his job, it’s not because he couldn’t afford the unit […] I think that it says something about what happens if you don’t skillfully bring people together from disparate socioeconomic backgrounds, and you don’t manage that […] And it says something too about people, their view of class and race and what they will tolerate and what they won’t tolerate.
While this is merely one example of a middle-class resident leaving Roosevelt Square, C4C’s executive director further explained to me that there were four options for Roosevelt Square middle-class families: either residents were successful in the lottery and could attend one of the three high-performing magnet schools; attend Smyth, which serves a predominantly low-income African American population and was dealing with school consolidations; attend private school; or move to another community where there were high-performing neighborhood schools.
In dealing with the current challenges, C4C developed a strategy in 2009 with CPS that proposed the development of a Science Technology Engineering and Math Magnet Academy (STEM) in the closed Jefferson Elementary School building. C4C contended that this proposal could serve the short-term purpose of providing an alternate high performing elementary school for middle-class residents at Roosevelt Square, and could strengthen Smyth in the process. STEM opened in 2011 as a K-3 school and will eventually expand into a K-8 school by 2019. As a magnet school, the program is comprised of 40% students from the Little Italy neighborhood, and 60% come from a city-wide CPS lottery. When asked about whether STEM served the Roosevelt Square neighborhood, the principal said,
I’m not sure, because it’s not a neighborhood school. I don’t know that we have a lot of applicants… we do have a neighborhood component, but I don’t know that people who would really need or who would really benefit from something like this in the neighborhood actually even apply.
Attracting residents from Roosevelt Square was not considered a priority, which further reinforced the questions around who benefits from the new STEM school, and whether there were ever any opportunities for low income African American students residing at Roosevelt Square to be included in the process. While considered as a way to fill the education gap in the Roosevelt Square neighborhood, the STEM school did not serve the populations most in need, instead catering to middle-class families moving into the neighborhood.
The new STEM School was also perceived as reinforcing the barriers between the north and south sides of Roosevelt Road. Historically, public housing has been located south of Roosevelt Road, while more middle- and upper-class families have resided north of it. Because Roosevelt Road is considered the dividing line between low income and middle-class families, the perceptions held of opening up STEM in the middle of already high-performing schools north of Roosevelt Road confirmed for the community what was already perceived. A Smyth administrator expressed the overall feelings of the community,
Opening up a STEM school in the middle of all the schools north of Roosevelt Road says that we like this dividing line between Roosevelt Row and the Village. Middle class Black people don’t wanna go to school with poor Black folk and White folk don’t wanna go to school with poor Black folk […] So when we talk about change, we mean diversity. When we talk about diversity we mean takeover. So change the community. So in Chicago change is White or it’s better.
Opening up a STEM school in the middle of all the schools that are north of Roosevelt Road, confirmed for Smyth administration and community stakeholders that middle-class families and those involved with the STEM school did not see the benefit, nor did they support the integration of Smyth. Instead, the perceptions of STEM limited integration and reinforced the existing segregation patterns that existed prior to Roosevelt Square redevelopment efforts. Community stakeholders also felt left out of the process in planning for STEM. Although the aims of the STEM school were meant to foster integration and offer additional educational opportunities, as articulated by the Smyth administrator continues to raise questions about the reinvention of new communities, rather than building on the assets of the existing community to foster collaborative change that is inclusive and promotes equity rather than exclusion. The integration efforts of C4C in this instance, while aimed to support both the existing and new community, turned out to facilitate the exclusion of low-income African Americans and further contribute to integration challenges.

5.1.3. Parallel Integration Approach (Asset Based): 2012–Present

Although the formal SEAT process with BPI ended, Smyth administration continued internally with SEAT and its advisory committee, and, in 2012, formed a partnership with the University of Illinois-Chicago (UIC) and C4C. This collaboration uses an asset-based approach focused on building a strong foundation for African American youth through a culturally focused curriculum and an action plan aligned with supporting the local African American population of Roosevelt Square by developing an environment of personalized learning. The UIC Department of Education pilot-tested the Early Literacy Impact Project that has since secured $1 M from the Kellogg Foundation to provide a holistic approach that integrates not only reading skills, but also issues of culture, economics, gender and community over a three-year period (2015–2018)5. This is geared towards developing ways to integrate and develop comprehensive school-wide literacy efforts for both students, teachers, administrators and parents.
Another initiative with the UIC College of Applied Health Sciences is working with students to learn about growing food, understanding the effects of food on the body, creating farmers markets, and learning how to cook healthy foods. As part of health and nutrition programming efforts, the College of Applied Health Sciences has also committed to recruiting a full-time tenure track faculty member that will work at Smyth as part of this initiative. This program is aimed at building networks between Smyth and UIC and establishing a pipeline to UIC for Smyth School students. These initiatives, supported by CPS, allow Smyth School greater autonomy to create partnerships with external partners and to move the initiatives forward.
This partnership has been focused on how to best serve the existing community residents who have been unable to gain access to the four other schools in the neighborhood. A major issue noted by respondents is combating the negative perceptions held by outsiders about Smyth. A Smyth administrator discusses the difficulty of changing the perceptions about not only Smyth but of African American children in general,
I think what has been difficult has been helping community change the perception of the work that really goes on here. Nobody wants to go to school with poor Black kids. Blacks don’t, Whites don’t, middle class Whites don’t…I think that’s the biggest perception and I think the dialog will change now that we are a Level 1 school.
Going forward, this new Level 1 status may provide the incentive for non-minorities to send their children to Smyth. This has, however, continued to be a difficult task, as noted by the Local School Council president:
An issue we have, particularly in Chicago, is segregation, and it’s been really interesting for me to watch my daughter be the only White kid in class—or almost […] She doesn’t give a second thought; her classmates don’t give it a second thought. It’s been such a good experience for me, and it just horrifies me that so many people have come around with an attitude and racist language.
The inherent racial dynamics and perceptions are significant and act as barriers to integration, despite improvements in school ranking. A Smyth administrator echoes this issue, “In preschool and kindergarten, we have White families at Smyth, but all of a sudden, by second and third grade, they start to leave.” The challenge is also understanding the limitations to reverse integration and that perceptions and implicit biases will not change overnight, regardless of the improvements at Smyth. Additional limitations to integration are also related to the policies in place that make it difficult for families that are new to the neighborhood to learn about Smyth. For instance, communication is limited between CPS and the local schools in terms of providing information about programming or application deadlines, which is largely due to gaps in technology, which require in-person visits to obtain relevant information. This can serve as a deterrent for those unfamiliar with the neighborhood schools or lack the time for a lengthy school search process. Communication and face-to-face interaction are also equally as important to break down existing barriers. This can oftentimes be a missed opportunity as neighborhood schools lack the staff to field and return calls or provide additional time to meet with prospective families.
Therefore, an orientation that is internally focused and asset based is more beneficial to the low-income African American students attending Smyth despite the lack of racial integration. Overall, this approach is more reflective of the needs of the existing community working with external partnerships. A Smyth administrator reinforces the school orientation,
It’s about making the changes that are necessary to support the community that we live in and the students that we serve […] we’re not trying to pad it so certain groups feel more comfortable being here. We are not making changes so middle class Black folks or middle class White folks feel comfortable…We’re trying to do the best we can do for the people that are here.
The ways that external partnerships play a role in supporting this enhanced learning environment is integral to moving towards a model that is focused on empowerment and integration of culturally relevant texts and activities that support and expand students’ humanity. The aim is to embrace new literacy models that can support literacy improvements for the entire school, and by extension offer targeted interventions that take into account place-based strategies that support building social capital. While Smyth has made significant improvements, Roosevelt Square remains highly segregated, with majority of its low income, African American residents attending Smyth (see Table 3).
In this case, integration does not produce segregation but offers a worthwhile alternative for reducing segregation. My case evidence shows that integration fails as white people who currently enjoy the benefits of racial segregation resist sharing housing and schools with African Americans. However, the approach utilized by UIC and Smyth highlights how a purposeful integration strategy works as part of a place-based community development effort. Organizers focused on assets rather than needs involving parents as residents emphasizing the advantages of shared living and schooling with African American neighbors. While gains have been modest and segregation persists, this place-based effort offers a model that reflects how education integration practices can start to change the narrative around integrated schools in mixed income communities.

6. Discussion

Each partnership model takes a distinct approach that is derived from determining who will benefit from education improvements with a focus towards either the existing low-income public housing residents or attracting middle-class residents. The partnerships between BPI and C4C illustrate how exclusion is used as a way to improve access to education from the perspective of recruitment and attraction of outsiders to Roosevelt Square. There was not an internal focus on the existing community, but rather attention was garnered in building the STEM school or making Smyth a more acceptable option for middle-class families as ways to promote the new Roosevelt Square community. This approach aligns with the assumed rationales for mixed-income schools [26]. In this case, both approaches did not build on existing community assets [54], but rather opted to build either a new school or reinvent an existing school, which continued to foster segregation between new and existing residents.
When asked about the challenges for residents at Roosevelt Square to be integrated into the larger scale education system in the neighborhood, respondents note that not knowing about options or the enrollment process of the other schools, issues of mobility, negative perceptions, and policy limitations are significant barriers to accessing quality education. More specifically, mobility rates are challenging in particular with continued public housing redevelopment where people are still in transition. Additionally, residents having limited access to information about other programs such as STEM or the rigorous curriculum, and not having a direct connection supporting recruitment from Roosevelt Square limits who attends school there. STEM creates a very different dynamic in the neighborhood as a school that is open to students from the community. So while there is a target demographic, it is not the one most in need. Focusing the school efforts on the middle class circumvents the idea of collaborating with Smyth in an effort to reverse integrate the schools. Essentially, the two schools have been organized as separate but unequal institutions, and support the assumptions that there is a one-way flow of influence rather than elevating the value of achieving cultural awareness through integration [27,30]. Each of these approaches raises important questions about race and class and who can attend schools.
Based on community development literature, there are two relevant strategies that reflect how local organizing efforts can be carried out by community groups: (1) A needs-based or (2) capacity-focused approach to community development. A needs-based approach is considered top-down, which is often driven by external institutional actors outside of the community and relies on assessments that focus on a community’s deficiencies and problems [53]. A capacity-focused approach is considered bottom up, and takes into consideration the local assets in the community and capitalizes on internal skills within the existing neighborhood [54].
The approaches used by BPI and C4C are focused on a needs-based approach that engages in education improvements and focuses attention on the new middle-class residents moving into Roosevelt Square. These approaches reinforce the idea that middle-class families are the priority, and reinventing the schools as the housing is newly redeveloped is focused on building new communities, rather than promoting a prosper-in-place model that is beneficial for existing low-income African American residents. This is evident from the lack of participation and inclusion of community stakeholders in the planning process. Utilizing a needs-based approach in these cases does not foster equitable access to education opportunities.
The third local organizing effort takes a different approach, with two non-profit actors that are supportive of moving beyond the integration debate fostered at Roosevelt Square, and instead uses an internal asset-based approach to build from within. An asset-based approach in this context allows Smyth to leverage its relationship with UIC to broker a partnership that has begun to fill in existing gaps in education access. Starting from a place where partners aimed to build on the existing strengths in the community offers greater viability, as overall organizational capacity was increased at Smyth, which promoted a more sustainable model of community development. The asset-based approach used at Smyth by the local administration in partnership with UIC is able to bridge the gap between remaining committed to the local residents, while also using university collaboration as a way to grow and expand curriculum and learning outcomes to both improve access to education to the existing community, but also remain open to attracting new families and students. While it is too early to assess the overall effectiveness of this approach, this organizing effort shows greater promise to foster integration compared to planning efforts at STEM.

7. Conclusions

This paper highlights two local level policies, the PFT and Ren 10, which have dramatically changed the neighborhood characteristics and spatial distribution of public amenities in Chicago. While the planning process for residential integration was relatively effective, efforts to support education integration were more challenging. Although these local efforts to redevelop central city public housing and improve public schools share a commitment to integration even as segregation has prevailed, many scholars argue that integration efforts backfire, accelerating the spatial segregation they aim to end [7,23,24,25]. I think this exaggerates the impact of modest integration efforts while missing the diversity and complexity of how these efforts work.
Several non-profit organizations, in partnership with external actors, took three distinct approaches to filling the gaps left by school closures. While two approaches did not incorporate the importance of inclusivity in its school integration plans, one approach did foster a prosper-in-place model geared towards retaining and growing the existing community and promoting inclusion. These three community-organizing models raise important questions about effective approaches to preserve and attract neighborhood investment, existing policies and perceptions about race and class. Local school segregation accompanies residential segregation in many large U.S. cities. This is a significant barrier to integration, as the history of racial segregation and discrimination continue to be reinforced in mixed-income redevelopment efforts in Chicago [65].
By highlighting the barriers, as well as the strategies employed by actors, this research specifically provides a lens to understand local community organizing efforts, which are advocating for education reform in Roosevelt Square. These barriers include lack of coordination between the CHA and CPS, policies that fail to promote integration, and limited community building. First, to improve coordination between the CHA and CPS, reestablishing a dedicated position in the mayor’s office to support housing and education reform, as well as CPS involvement in the working group can facilitate better coordination of redevelopment activities. Second, a number of policy changes are necessary to foster educational integration such as: (1) better communication between CPS and local schools, (2) improved recruitment and outreach efforts about school options to existing residents for both Smyth and STEM, (3) reservation of STEM slots not only to 40% of students from the neighborhood, but a commitment to low-income students. And lastly, in addition to improved coordination and policy changes, reframing the narrative around integrated schools is essential. This might be pursued through informal community building strategies by local organizations that focus on equity, inclusion, to balance the needs of new and existing residents that support integrated educational experiences.
While this is one case study of combined housing and education integration efforts, there are broader lessons learned for similar cities undergoing these transformations despite the data limitations. First, mixed-income housing plans struggle with promoting strategies in residential and education integration that support both existing public housing residents and new middle- and upper-class families. Keeping this in mind, planning processes should work towards promoting greater equity in the decision-making process that does not support inclusion of middle- and upper-class families at the expense of low-income public housing residents [7]. Strategies that support building community schools or integration of magnet schools may serve to limit further reinforcing existing barriers to high quality education. Second, in addition to promoting greater equity in the planning process, local actors need to acknowledge the racial history and existing dynamics that exist to support asset-based, rather than needs-based approaches to planning for integration [65,66]. Normative perceptions of actors in two approaches did not elevate the importance of local knowledge, which was a significant barrier in the planning process to achieve consensus. A planning process that focuses on asset-based approaches is also more beneficial to low-income African American students, where the value of diversity is understood rather than seen as a hindrance. And lastly, as seen in the third approach, external partnerships with neighborhood schools that serve to promote culturally competent learning environments are integral to building supportive and inclusive educational spaces for low-income African American students [67,68]. In addition to promoting culturally relevant education practices, there is also a need for local actors to educate the larger community on the tangible benefits of integration [2].
There are limitations to this work, however this research is a first step in examining how efforts to remedy existing segregation in a Chicago neighborhood combined housing and school integration efforts. Moreover, these lessons learned might support future research at the intersection of housing and education integration efforts that explore where mixed-income housing plans have promoted equity and inclusion. Furthermore, questions remain about what is the appropriate mix that works and where have local organizations been able to support successful integration efforts.

Author Contributions

Conceptualization, A.J.; methodology, A.J. formal analysis, A.J.; investigation, A.J.; writing—original draft preparation, A.J.; writing—literature enriching, A.J.; writing—review and editing, A.J.; the author have read and agreed to the published version of the manuscript.


This research received no external funding.


The author would like to thank key stakeholders and community residents who took the time to share their stories with the research team.

Conflicts of Interest

The author declares no conflict of interest.


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Gautreaux is a city-wide consent decree which applies to HOPE VI funded projects. This consent decree is in place due to a lawsuit filed in 1967 by public housing residents (BPI represented the Gautreaux plantiffs) alleging that the CHA had engaged in systematic and illegal segregation. The courts determined that the CHA had in fact discriminated against blacks by locating public housing and tenants in segregated areas. Therefore, the CHA and HUD was subsequently required to implement a metropolitan-wide relocation effort of Gautreaux residents to remedy past discrimination, by relocating low-income African American families to middle-class white suburban communities throughout the six-county Chicago metropolitan area.
The working group provides project oversight and decision-making as it relates to specific project concerns, ranging from political requests to deals and demands. The working group is comprised of: the CHA, the Habitat Company (as receiver for the Gautreaux court), the Local Advisory Committee (LAC), the City of Chicago Department of Housing, the City of Chicago Department of Planning, the Gautreaux plaintiffs (represented by Business and Professional People for the Public Interest (BPI), various aldermen, and, in certain cases, legal councils and community representatives appointed by the alderman. Developers and consultants are also part of the working groups, but are not voting members and serve only in an advisory capacity.
The ABLA Local Advisory Committee (LAC) did not oppose the original plan, but a group of former residents, who formed the Concerned Residents of ABLA (CRA), hired the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty in an effort to block the plan. The CRA believed it would have a disproportionately negative impact on the current minority women and children residents, by concentrating replacement housing south of Roosevelt Road (Bennett, Hudspeth, and Wright 2006). In turn, the CHA disregarded the CRA’s arguments and proceeded to block them from the redevelopment process, since the issue did not come from the governing LAC. The CRA filed a lawsuit against the CHA in 1999 to block the redevelopment plan. However, the lawsuit was dismissed and it was ruled that, due to the final redevelopment plan being incomplete, it was premature to demand intervention. However, even with the lawsuit dismissal, the threat of continued litigation provided leverage for the LAC, which was still in a pivotal position within the working group to negotiate benefits on behalf of public housing residents between 2001 and 2002.
Riis Elementary School closed in 2002; Jefferson Elementary School in 2004; Gladstone Elementary School in 2009; and Medill Elementary School in 2012. This left Smyth Elementary School as the only neighborhood school to serve the Roosevelt Square mixed-income community. This school consolidation was a significant challenge, as students from three different schools with varying levels of academic performance over time were relocated to Smyth.
The focus of the Early Literacy Impact Project, as noted by the Dean of the College of Education is to “change the narrative that surround the education of Black boys in literacy classrooms.” The Project aims to impact 1000 Black boys in grades 3–5, by working with 20 parents and five school principals in schools on the South and West sides of Chicago. More specifically, the core components of the program include: (1) leading initiatives for Black boys in grades 3–5 in urban and suburban schools, (2) providing professional development for elementary school principals, (3) recruiting and preparing a cohort of graduate students with expertise in reading instruction, (4) conducting summer outreach initiatives for parents and students, and (5) conducting research on the reading achievement of Black males.
Table 1. Roosevelt Square Unit Totals.
Table 1. Roosevelt Square Unit Totals.
NameStatusRental UnitsFor Sale UnitsTotal Units
Phase 1Completed12556018174159233414
Phase 2Completed120552177000177
Phase 2APlanning Phase30090120000120
Phase 2 for SalePlanning Phase000057136193193
Remaining PhasesPlanning Phase48018606662436308731539
Total Completed245111235874159233591
Total Planned5101869078630076610661852
Total Units75529792114437492512992443
Source: Habitat Company, 2013 and CHA, 2016.
Table 2. Neighborhood change at Roosevelt Square.
Table 2. Neighborhood change at Roosevelt Square.
Roosevelt Square
2000201010 YR Change
Total Population2171256418%
% Poverty53%10.4%−81.0%
Median HH Income15,22940,296165%
Race + Ethnicity
Source: U.S. Census; 2000 and 2010 Decennial Census data by census tract.
Table 3. School Characteristics, 2012–2013 Academic Year.
Table 3. School Characteristics, 2012–2013 Academic Year.
School NameTypeEnrollmentSocioeconomic CompositionRacial/Ethnic Composition
Free Lunch EligibleReduced Lunch EligibleNot F/R Lunch EligibleBlackLatinoWhiteAsianOther
John Smyth ElementaryNeighborhood46596.3%0%3.7%92.9%3.9%0.6%0.6%1.9%
STEM Magnet AcademyMagnet56055.9%13.3%30.8%21.1%63.4%8.2%3.8%3.5%
Andrew Jackson Language AcademyMagnet60142.8%9.9%47.3%32.5%27.6%18.7%17.0%4.2%
Galileo Scholastic AcademyMagnet28328.2%8.2%63.6%23.4%26.6%23.9%23.2%2.9%
Skinner ElementaryMagnet83125.2%0.2%74.6%40.7%14.3%20.8%20.1%4.1%
Smyth Brief Report, 2013; Based on NCES Common Core Data.

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